Report of the XIV SBPMat Meeting: plenary lectures with their files, memorial lecture, symposia, awards…


Sunday, September 27. By 6:45 pm. Hundreds of people enter the plenary room of the Convention Center “SulAmérica”, in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) for the opening ceremony of the 14th annual meeting of the Brazil Materials Research Society, whose acronym in Portuguese is SBPMat. The opening table is composed by the chairmen of the event, Prof. Marco Cremona (Brazil) and Prof. Fernando Lázaro Freire Junior (Brazil), as well as the present SBPMat president, Prof. Roberto Mendonça Faria (Brazil), the immediate past president of the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS), Prof. Rodrigo Martins (Portugal), and the general secretary of the International Union of Materials Research Societies (IUMRS), Prof. Robert Chang (USA). Behind them, a big banner shows the logos of dozens of institutions and companies that gave financial support to the event.

At the opening table, from the readers´ left: Prof. Rodrigo Martins (Portugal, E-MRS immediate past president and IUMRS officer), Prof. Fernando Lázaro Freire Junior (Brazil, chair of the event), Prof. Marco Cremona (Brazil, chair of the event), Prof. Roberto Mendonça Faria (Brazil, SBPMat president), and Prof. Robert Chang (USA, IUMRS general secretary).

Near 1,000 attendants are present at the ceremony, which starts with the Brazilian national anthem. The chair Prof. Cremona welcomes the participants to the meeting. Prof. Robert Chang, who was president of MRS (Materials Research Society) in 1989 and founded IUMRS in 1991, convokes the participants of all countries to try to solve together the most important global challenges for materials research, related to health, food, environment, transport etc. Representing E-MRS, Prof. Martins, who presently takes care of Global Leadership and Service Award at IUMRS, emphasizes his desire of promoting international connections. Prof. Faria talks a little bit about Brazil, which, as well as other developing countries, is very rich in raw materials but needs to add value to its products by means of science and technology.

After the opening, Prof. Eloisa Biasotto Mano (Brazil) goes to the stage for the Memorial Lecture “Joaquim da Costa Ribeiro“, which is a distinction bestowed annually by SBPMat on a Brazilian researcher with outstanding career in the field of Materials. This 91-year-old scientist pursued international scientific education at a time when most women were illiterate in Brazil, and founded in the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) the first research group in polymers in the country. This group later became the Institute of Macromolecules (IMA), which was directed by Eloisa until she retired. In the memorial lecture, she talks about macromolecular materials and, using a representation of a polyethylene molecule made by herself with wire, she shows how these kind of molecules behave in response to their big size. A group of Prof. Eloisa´s disciples (among them, the present director of IMA) assists her with the presentation, showing affection, gratitude and admiration for her . After the talk, many attendants of diverse ages make a queue to take a picture with this protagonist of the dawn of polymer science in Brazil. Eloisa, who is professor emeritus of UFRJ, poses for all the pictures she is ask to. At the end of the photo session, she accepts our microphone and leaves a message for the young people starting a carreer in science:

Right after the memorial lecture, in the same venue, the participants enjoy the welcome cocktail while meeting friends and collaborators. The cocktail is animated by live “chorinho” music, an instrumental Brazilian popular genre original from Rio de Janeiro.



Nader Engheta

Monday, September 28. At 8:30 in the morning, the plenary room is full of attendants waiting to learn about metamaterials and the extreme behavior of waves interacting with them in the first plenary lecture of the event. The speaker is Nader Engheta, the H. Nedwill Ramsey Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania (United States). This Iranian-born scientist is a recognized world leader in research on metamaterials, and holds an H number of 69. Through experimental and theoretical research, Engheta and his collaborators have created such unconventional things as nanocircuits made of metamaterials that function as optical filters. Since the beginning of the talk, Engheta captivates the audience with some history of science and with a world of structures created by using particular composite metamaterials with particular sizes and geometries and arranged in particular ways with the aim of obtaining unconventional interaction with light and other waves.


Edgar Zanotto.

In the afternoon, at 3:30, more than 400 people attend the second plenary lecture, which is about glass-ceramics (materials formed through controlled crystallization of certain glasses). The speaker is the Brazilian researcher Edgar Zanotto, Professor at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar), in Brazil, where he founded and heads the Vitreous Materials Laboratory (LaMaV) that assembles a big international team. Zanotto, who is a world-renowned expert on glass-ceramics, presents in his lecture many useful applications of these materials, such as cooking hobs or artificial bones and teeth. He also mentions the scientists who, along 60 years of glass-ceramics history, contributed to the advancement of research on that topic. In spite of those contributions, the comprehension of some aspects of the formation of glass-ceramics is not complete, he says, but that is not a problem for glass-ceramics fabrication and applications. It´s just an opportunity for fundamental scientists.


Paul Ducheyne. Biomaterials. Merging Materials Science with Biology.

Tuesday, September 29. 8:30 am, time for the third plenary lecture of the event. The lecturer, Prof. Paul Ducheyne, also comes from University of Pennsylvania (USA), where he directs a multidisciplinary center for bioactive materials and tissue engineering research. An authority on biomaterials field, Ducheyne is the editor in chief of a six-volume book on biomaterials published in 2011. In the talk, he shows a series of biomaterial-made devices, grafts, scaffolds etc., most of them already being commercialized, that actively interact with the body, either by promoting tissue formation (for example, bone) or by releasing drugs for diverse treatments. Ducheyne presents their effects on solving health problems, numbers about their markets, and scientific recent advances that can make them even more effective.

Ulrike Diebold. Surfaces of Metal Oxides.

Some hours later, at 3:30 pm, hundreds of participants cluster again, this time around Prof. Ulrike Diebold, whose research group at UT Wien (Austria) is devoted to the understanding of fundamental mechanisms and processes occurring in surfaces at the atomic scale. Prof. Diebold catches the audience attention from the beginning to the end by showing, through scanning tunneling microscopy images, how she spies the behavior of atoms on the surface of metal oxides – topic in which she is a worldwide leader researcher. In particular, she reveals two secrets of metal oxide surfaces: the first one about how oxygen adsorbs on titanium dioxide and the second one about how active single metal atoms are in oxidation process in magnetite.

George Malliaras.

Wednesday, September 30. In the plenary lecture of the morning, the audience is transported again to the social-impacting world of biomaterials by Prof. George Malliaras, Greek-born, working at École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Saint-Étienne (France), where he heads the Department of Bioelectronics. Malliaras has an H index of 64. After many years working on organic electronics, he entered the new field of organic bioelectronics and obtained impacting results. His research is about electronic devices made of conducting polymers that match properties of living tissues. These devices are used for interfacing with human brain – a “natural electronic device”. The final purpose is to study brain activity or diagnose and even treat neurological diseases such as epilepsy. An example of device is a transistor that enables boosted in vivo recording of brain activity with low invasion. As suggestions for the materials community, Malliaras highlights the importance of collaboration with neuroscientists and physicians and the challenge of improving the understanding of electronic transport and structure.


Ichiro Takeuchi. Combinatorial Approach to Materials Discovery.

In the talk of the afternoon, the speed of science progress accelerates following the beat of the combinatorial approach. Prof. Ichiro Takeuchi, from University of Maryland (USA), explains how his group manages to optimize materials and properties discovery. As well as in lottery one can buy a big number of tickets to have more chances to win a prize, in materials discovery scientists can produce a huge number of combinations of elements to obtain a compound with desirable properties. For example, for quaternary compounds, millions of combinations are possible, from which only 0,01 % are known. In Prof. Takeuchi´s lab, machines for thin film deposition used with masks work night and day to create patchwork-like samples containing libraries of similar compounds. Then, the libraries are characterized by rapid tools, giving information about the properties of several compounds at the same time. Coupled with appropriate theory and computational simulations, these high-throughput experiments become real materials discovery engines.

Claudia Draxl. On the Search of Novel Materials: Insight and Discovery though sharing of big data.

Thursday, October 1st, 8:30 am. In the last plenary lecture of the event, Prof. Claudia Draxl (Humboldt University, Germany) publicly wonders how to make available the huge amount of data resulting from experiments around the world, high-throughput screening, computer clusters etc. Why to do that with scientific data? For confirmation, broad dissemination in society, sharing with distant collaborators and reuse with new purposes. With that aim, Prof. Draxl and collaborators from European countries are facing the development of a repository of materials raw data, called Novel Materials Discovery (NoMaD), which hosts, organizes and shares materials data on the web.



The symposia at SBPMat annual meetings are selected from proposals that can be submitted to the event committee by any scientist from anywhere in the world. This edition of the event encompassed 26 symposia (including the satellite event “8th International Summit on Organic and Hybrid Solar Cells Stability”) and 2 workshops, and it registered symposia coordinators from Argentina, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Portugal, Spain, Swiss, USA, and, of course, Brazil. Within the symposia, near 190 invited speeches and more than 2,000 technical works are presented and discussed in oral and posters sessions, on a wide range of subjects going from carbon nanostructures to biomaterials, from characterization techniques to computer simulation, from materials for sustainable development to safe use of nanomaterials.

While some symposia have been held year after year in the SBPMat meeting, the University Chapters symposium was a novelty of this year meeting. It was completely organized by students from diverse points of Brazil who are coordinators of the SBPMat University Chapters. The chapters are organized teams, affiliated with the society, composed of graduate and undergraduate students working in materials field. The members of these groups carry out diverse activities that complement their academic education. The students from the existing chapters, which were eight in number up to the moment of the meeting, faced the challenge of organizing a symposium – a task that is usually done by senior researchers.

In fact, students have not only active but also massive participation in the XIV SBPMat meeting. Almost half of the attendants (950 people) were master, doctoral and even undergraduate students doing research on materials field. In Brazil, the federal agency for research support, CNPq, has a program called “scientific initiation” that grants scholarships to undergraduate students to conduct research under the supervision of a Professor.

For the oral sessions of the symposia, all along the meeting, after the morning plenary session, and before and after the afternoon plenary talks, the attendants distributed themselves among 17 rooms. The poster sessions took place at the end of the afternoon from Monday to Wednesday and in the morning on Thursday. Walking through the long corridors of the poster sessions, one could see active scientific discussion, many times between a young author and a renowned researcher. One could also hear very positive comments about the original arrangement of the poster panels. The size of the poster session was impressive. In total, near 1,800 research works were presented in the posters.

View of the first poster session.



Twice a day from Monday to Wednesday, the attendants could take a break and have a coffee with cookies while visiting the exhibition of the event, which encompassed 32 stands showing a variety of scientific instruments, services, scientific journals, books and opportunities for the materials community. In addition, on Wednesday, the participants had the opportunity to attend four hours of technical talks given by some expositors about fabrication and characterization techniques.

Coffee break and exhibition.



On Thursday by 12:30 the closing ceremony started. In the closing panel, Prof. Soo Wohn Lee, from MRS Korea and conference chair of the IUMRS-ICAM 2015, joined the representatives of SBPMat, E-MRS and IUMRS.

The meeting chair Prof. Cremona presented some photos of the past days and hours that made the public remember so nice and fruitful moments. He also presented the numbers of the event: 2,000 registered people from 985 institutions, among which 300 were foreign researchers from 40 countries. Finally, he announced that the next SBPMat annual meeting will be held in Campinas city (São Paulo state).

After the closing words, more than 20 prizes were given to young researchers within four different awards: the Bernhard Gross Award, a traditional SBPMat recognition for the best works of students, and the awards bestowed by IUMRS, E-MRS and Horiba.

Announcement of the students who won the Bernhard Gross Award.

See list of the awards winners.

Entrevistas com palestrantes de plenárias do XIV Encontro: Nader Engheta.

Foto do prof. Nader Engheta sobreposta a algumas imagens relacionadas a pesquisas dele. Crédito: Felice Macera, fotógrafo da Universidade de Pennsylvania.

Materiais fabricados com a aplicação do estado-da-arte da ciência e engenharia de materiais e da nanotecnologia podem fazer com que ondas eletromagnéticas como a luz se comportem de modo extraordinário… e útil para aplicações em diversos segmentos.

Para falar sobre esse assunto, o XIV Encontro da SBPMat contará com a presença do professor Nader Engheta (Universidade de Pennsylvania, EUA), um reconhecido líder mundial da pesquisa em metamateriais – materiais criados pelo ser humano por meio de micro ou nanoengenharia, que interagem com as ondas eletromagnéticas de modos não encontrados na natureza. Os metamateriais podem esculpir as ondas para conseguir interações extraordinárias entre luz e matéria.

No Rio de Janeiro, Engheta falará sobre cenários “extremos” gerados a partir de metamateriais: luz viajando em máxima velocidade através de estruturas artificiais, dispositivos ópticos de um átomo de espessura, metamateriais que realizam operações matemáticas, circuitos miniaturizados – ópticos em vez de eletrônicos – compostos por metamateriais, e estruturas com índice de refração próximo de zero.

Já na sua infância em Teerã (capital do Irã), Nader Engheta desenvolveu uma curiosidade especial por compreender fenômenos relacionados a ondas. Foi essa curiosidade que o impulsionou a cursar a graduação em Engenharia Elétrica na Universidade de Teerã, obtendo o diploma de “Bachelor of Science”. Em 1978, foi aos Estados Unidos para continuar com a sua formação em Engenharia Elétrica no prestigiado Instituto de Tecnologia de California (Caltech). Inicialmente obteve o título de mestre e, em 1982, defendeu sua tese de doutorado, da área de eletromagnetismo. Depois de um pós-doutorado na mesma instituição, Engheta atuou como cientista na indústria por quatro anos, trabalhando novamente com eletromagnetismo.

Em 1987, foi contratado pela Universidade de Pennsylvania (Penn), onde ascendeu rapidamente na carreira de professor. Desde 2005, ocupa a cátedra H. Nedwill Ramsey de Engenharia Elétrica e de Sistemas, além de lecionar nos departamentos de Engenharia Elétrica e de Sistemas, de Física e Astronomia, Bioengenharia e Ciência e Engenharia de Materiais. Engheta é coeditor do livro “Metamaterials: Engineering and Physics Explorations“, da editora Wiley-IEEE, lançado em 2006, e autor de 28 capítulos de livros. Em 2012, foi coordenador da Gordon Research Conference on Plasmonics.

Dono de um número H de 69 segundo o Google Scholar, Engheta tem mais de 21.400 citações.

Suas contribuições à ciência e engenharia têm recebido importantes reconhecimentos e distinções de diversas entidades, como a sociedade internacional de óptica e fotônica, SPIE (“2015 SPIE Gold Medal”), a união internacional de ciência de rádio, URSI (“2014 Balthasar van der Pol Gold Medal”) e a organização internacional profissional de engenheiros elétricos e eletrônicos, IEEE (“2015 IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society Distinguished Achievement Award“, “2013 Benjamin Franklin Key Award”, “2012 IEEE Electromagnetics Award”, “IEEE Third Millennium Medal”), entre muitas outras entidades. Ele também é fellow da Materials Research Society (MRS), American Physical Society (APS), Optical Society of America (OSA), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), SPIE, and IEEE. Engheta também recebeu vários prêmios por sua atuação no ensino.  Em 2006, a prestigiada revista de divulgação científica Scientific American o escolheu como um dos 50 líderes em ciência e tecnologia por seu desenvolvimento de nanocircuitos ópticos inspirados em metamateriais.

Segue uma entrevista com este plenarista do XIV Encontro da SBPMat.

Boletim da SBPMat: – Em sua opinião, quais são suas contribuições mais significativas nos temas relacionados à sua palestra plenária no XIV Encontro da SBPMat? Explique-as muito brevemente, por favor, e, se possível, compartilhe referências dos artigos ou livros resultantes, ou comente se esses estudos produziram patentes, produtos, empresas derivadas etc.

Nader Engheta: – Eu tenho muito interesse na interação luz-matéria, e no meu grupo nós exploramos diferentes métodos para manipular e  otimizar a interação de ondas com estruturas materiais, tanto no domínio óptico como no das microondas. Estou muito feliz com todos os tópicos de pesquisa nos quais o meu grupo e eu temos trabalhado. Alguns desses tópicos incluem (1) O nanocircuito metatrônico óptico, no qual nós trouxemos a noção de elementos de circuito “aglomerado” (“lumped”) da eletrônica para o campo da nanofotônica, desenvolvendo um novo paradigma no qual as nanoestruturas materiais podem funcionar como elementos de circuito óptico. Em outras palavras, “materiais se tornam circuitos” operando com sinais ópticos. Dessa forma, a nanofotônica pode ser modulada de uma maneira análoga à da eletrônica. Isso permite processar sinais ópticos em nanoescala, (2) Metamateriais que podem fazer matemática: dando sequência a nosso trabalho em metatrônica óptica, nós estamos explorando como materiais projetados adequadamente (ex. materiais em camadas) podem interagir com luz de tal forma que seja possível realizar operações matemáticas com luz. Em outras palavras, nós estamos explorando as seguintes questões: Os materiais podem ser especialmente projetados para realizar processamento analógico com a luz em nanoescala? Na medida em que a luz propaga através de tais estruturas materiais projetadas adequadamente, os perfis dos sinais de saída poderiam se assemelhar aos resultados de certas operações matemáticas (tal como diferenciação ou integração) nos perfis dos sinais de entrada? Em outras palavras, nós podemos projetar materiais para operações matemáticas específicas para realizar um “cálculo fotônico” em nanoescala? (3) Cenários extremos na interação luz-matéria: isso pode incluir dimensionalidade extrema, como fotônica de grafeno como plataforma com espessura de um átomo para manipulação de luz, metamateriais extremos no qual parâmetros materiais tais como permissividade relativa e permeabilidade relativa atinjam valores próximos do zero. Essa categoria de materiais, que nós nomeamos materiais épsilon-próximo-do zero, mu-próximo do zero (MNZ) e épsilon-e-mu-próximo do zero (EMNZ) exibem características bastante interessantes em sua resposta à interação com ondas eletromagnéticas.


  • N. Engheta, “Circuits with Light at Nanoscales:  Optical Nanocircuits Inspired by Metamaterials”, Science, 317, 1698-1702 (2007).
  • N. Engheta, A. Salandrino, A. Alu, “Circuit Elements at Optical Frequencies:  Nano-Inductor, Nano-Capacitor, and Nano-Resistor,” Physical Review Letters, 95, 095504 (2005).
  • N. Engheta, “Taming Light at the Nanoscale,”  Physics World , 23(9), 31-34 (2010).
  • A. Vakil and N. Engheta, “Transformation Optics Using Graphene,” Science, 332, 1291-1294 (2011).
  • A.Silva, F. Monticone, G. Castaldi, V. Galdi, A. Alu, and N. Engheta, “”Performing Mathematical Operations with Metamaterials,” Science, 343, 160-163 (2014).
  • M. G. Silveirinha and N. Engheta, “Tunneling of Electromagnetic Energy through Sub-Wavelength Channels and Bends Using Epsilon-Near-Zero (ENZ) Materials,” Physical Review Letters, 97, 157403 (2006).
  • N. Engheta, “Pursuing Near-Zero Response”, Science, 340, 286-287 (2013).
  • A.M. Mahmoud and N. Engheta, “Wave-Matter Interaction in Epsilon-and-Mu-Near-Zero Structures”, Nature Communications, 5:5638, December 5, 2014.

Boletim da SBPMat: – Ajude-nos a visualizar os metamateriais desenvolvidos por seu grupo. Escolha um de seus materiais fotônicos favoritos e conte-nos, brevemente, do que ele é feito, qual sua propriedade principal e quais seriam suas possíveis aplicações.

Nader Engheta: – Uma das estruturas desenvolvidas pelo meu grupo é o nanocircuito metatrônico para regime de IV médio (de 8 a 14 mícrons), no qual nós adaptamos e construímos adequadamente nanobastões de Si3N4 com larguras e espessuras específicas, separados por um espaço específico. Esses arranjos de nanobastões de Si3n4 funcionam como coleções de nanoindutores ópticos, nanocapacitores ópticos e nanorresistores ópticos no IV médio. Nós demonstramos que tais estruturas se comportam como circuitos ópticos de nanoescala, com funcionalidade análoga aos filtros eletrônicos, mas aqui essas estruturas materiais operam em regimes de IV médio. Nós demostramos como essas estruturas operam como filtros ópticos no IV médio, oferecendo aplicações interessantes para futuros dispositivos e componentes ópticos integrados.


  • Y. Sun, B. Edwards, A. Alu, and N. Engheta, “Experimental Realization of Optical Lumped Nanocircuit Elements at Infrared Wavelengths,” Nature Materials, 11, 208-212 (2012)

Posteriormente, em colaboração com a minha colega professora Cherie Kagan e seu grupo na UPenn, nós ampliamos esse trabalho para o regime próximo ao IV (de 1 a 3 mícrons). Nesse caso, nós usamos o óxido de índio dopado com estanho (ITO) como o material de escolha, com projeto e padrão adequado de nanobastões de ITO. Nós também demonstramos que tais circuitos metatrônicos óticos baseados em ITO funcionam como uma plataforma interessante para circuitos e filtragem óptica. Isso pode ter interessantes possibilidades na fotônica de silício.


  • H. Caglayan, S.-H. Hong, B. Edwards, C. Kagan, and N. Engheta, “Near-IR Metatronic Nanocircuits by Design,” Physical Review Letters, 111, 073904 (2013).

Boletim da SBPMat: – Se quiser, deixe uma mensagem ou convite para sua palestra plenária aos leitores que participarão do XIV Encontro da SBPMat.

Nader Engheta: – Uma das características mais excitantes de fazer ciência é a alegria da busca do desconhecido e a emoção da descoberta. Eu sempre acredito que nós devemos seguir nossa curiosidade e nossa paixão pela descoberta. Também, em ciência e tecnologia é importante manter o equilíbrio entre a complexidade e a simplicidade na busca por soluções às inquisições científicas.